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Rain in Japan

Typhoons in Japan

Typhoons are mature tropical cyclones  that is quite common in the Northwestern Pacific Basin accounting for almost a third of the world’s annual tropical cyclones. Tropical storms in this region often affect Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Philippines, and Japan, plus a number of other islands such as Guam, Palau and the Northern Marianas.Typhoon headed for Japan

The northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions, the eastern (North America 140 degrees W), central (140 degrees W to 180 degrees) and western (180 degrees E to 100 degrees). The Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is located in Japan with other tropical cyclone warning centers for the northwest Pacific in Hawaii (the Joint Typhoon Warning Center), the Philippines and Hong Kong. The RSMC names each system but also coordinates the main name list with 18 countries that have territories threatened by the typhoons annually.

Beware of the taifu

Typhoons are known as taifu in Japanese. They are large low-pressure systems that come from rising water vapors from the warm surface of the ocean that condenses to for clouds. The clouds then rise into towering columns that cools and begin to sink. Wind circles the center like water going down the drain. This gives storms the characteristic spin. Typhoons can bring torrential winds as strong a 200mph and rainfall. Similarly, storms that form over the Atlantic Ocean are knows as hurricanes.

The typhoon season in Japan is between the months of May to October each year. The paths of the typhoon can be accurately predicted, and early preparations can be made before it actually hits.Torrential rain samurai home

Preparing for a typhoon in Japan

If you get caught travelling in the event of a typhoon, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep updated. Japanese TV and radio stations broadcast advance warnings about the coming typhoon. The most authoritative source would be the Japan Meteorological Agency.
  • Most schools and universities cancel classes until the typhoon has passed. Announcements are usually made last minute. If you’re a student in Japan, you can always call your school for updates.
  • Check the Haneda and Narita Airport sites for official updates.
  • For Shinkansen (bullet train) schedule updates can be found on the JR East site to check if the schedules have been affected.
  • Typhoon season includes rainy and hot weather. Pack necessary items to prepare you such as an umbrella, and proper clothing to keep you dry.
  • List down museums or other indoor activity that will be open during bad weather.

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!